In The Blink of An Eye: Creating Visual Content That Resonates on Social Media

I’m always surprised by the ability of roadside billboards to get my attention. Even in the worst weather, dodging tandem tractor-trailers, SUV-towing motor homes, and cars driven erratically by people catching up on their email, I never miss a message about the next roadside attraction.

There’s an important lesson that B2B marketers can learn from billboards: go for the visual.

It’s not exactly news that the human brain processes visual information faster than text. One data point has been cited hundreds of times on the web, but it is powerful nonetheless: the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it takes to decode text.

That’s pretty darn fast. MIT neuroscientists recently reported that our brains can process an entire image in only 13 milliseconds. Previous studies determined that it took our brains 100 milliseconds to recognize what we were looking at.

Considering the increasingly short attention span that people have for just about everything — the average person gets distracted in eight seconds — catching a customer’s eye with a visual image is the prudent thing to do. Consider this:

If finding compelling visuals seems like just one more task to add to an already long of things to do, here are some ways to lighten the load.

Picture This

Depending on the size of your marketing team, you may already have access to a library of approved images and graphics. Typically, these images have been selected to align well with your brand. And if you’re lucky, the photos or images have already been cropped and sized for use on a variety of publishing platforms.

If your next-best option is to purchase photography or images from a stock house, here are some recommendations.

  • First, reputable stock photography houses have search tools to help you find appropriate images. Use them, but keep in mind that other marketers do, too. Be careful not to present a photo or graphic so frequently used that customers confuse your message with those of other brands.
  • Second, make sure any images you select are aligned with your company’s brand. While you may want to push the image envelope to capture more attention and generate more likes and shares, every marketing touch should reinforce your brand.
  • Third, make sure the photo or image reflects the content it promotes. Be careful not to confuse your buyers with an image invitation that’s not rewarded with expected content.

Bonus tip: Kissmetrics reported that captions under images are read approximately 300% more than body copy. Drive your audience deeper into the conversion with a well-crafted caption.

You Can Quote Me

At C4D, we’re proponents of modularizing content to get more value from it. If your blog or the assets you’re promoting feature quotes or data points, dropping one into a simple frame is an efficient and affordable way to build a powerful visual element. The value of reusing quotes, data points and other existing content are clear: Users who tweet quotes can get 43% more followers, according to Quick Sprout.

Data points can be equally compelling, especially if related to proprietary research that you’ve done. A simple graph representing trending data can successfully attract your audience’s attention. But remember to keep charts simple, so that even the quickest brain can register the information and decide to dig deeper.

To make it really easy to drop quotes or data points into graphic elements today and tomorrow, ask your design team to build reusable templates for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other publishing platform you use.